Photo Credit: Todd Anderson, Disney via Getty Images
There has been a significant disturbance in The Force. Unless you’ve been living under a rock the past two weeks by now you have heard that writer/director George Lucas sold his monumental Star Wars franchise to Disney. What does this mean for those of us that aren’t Jedi Knights? The short answer is, if you’re not currently into Star Wars you probably will be in the next 10 years or so.
By giving over control to Disney, George Lucas has given them the keys to the kingdom. No longer is the franchise governed solely by Lucas but rather an entire company free to hand over the reins to the best director the job, or even multiple directors for each new film. Lucas, despite having created an expanse and fascinating universe, always kept his stories small and rather limited. But now that Disney does not have to play by his rules and can release as many films as they please.
One of the first actions the company did was to announce that the highly anticipated Episode VII would be release in 2015 with new films coming every two to three years after that. At first many assumed that meant one more trilogy but fans are quickly learning that the company is following the same tactic it has done with Marvel and plans on releasing an unknown amount of films indefinitely. This is, of course, a dream come true for fanboys the world over. The Star Wars films have needed new blood ever since the prequels were released over a decade ago. For many, the prequels single handedly ruined the franchise and forever tarnished Lucas’ legacy. Don’t believe me? Try re-watching The Phantom Menace. Lucas became his own worst enemy decades ago, drunk with the power of final cut and total creative control. The geek community in general seems to be embracing the idea of exploring new worlds with a new cast, just so long as Lucas is kept far away from it.
In a rather surprising turn of events, all the original cast members from Mark Hamill to Harrison Ford have shown an interest in being in the new films. This comes as a bit of shock since most of the cast, especially Ford, have tried to distance themselves from the iconic characters they once played. Despite this, the rumor seems to be that the films will involve a new cast of characters and an entirely new story. This is probably the best route to go and the easiest way to break in a fresh team.
One must remember, there is a dark side to this deal as well. Disney, being the corporate conglomerate that they are, is sure to capitalize on merchandising as much as possible. If you thought Star Wars was everywhere before just wait, I imagine we’ll be seeing Star Wars versions of every character owned by Disney and on as much merchandise as they can crank out. It should be interesting to watch the avid collectors take part in what is sure to be a plethora lunch boxes, t-shirts, DVDs, video games, action figures and toys. The casual observer might consider the market already flooded with such things but with this newfound power at their disposal odds are you won’t even be able to fill a Death Star with all the merchandise.
It may take some time but this merger of monoliths seems like just the thing to bring balance back to The Force.